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Baghdadi's body disposed of at sea, Pentagon sources say

Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was also buried at sea by US special forces [Twitter]

Date of publication: 28 October, 2019

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The move parallels the controversial burial of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden at sea after a US military operation in 2011.
The body of Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was disposed of at sea by the US military after he killed himself during a raid on his Syrian compound this weekend, Pentagon sources have said.

The move parallels the controversial 2011 sea burial of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden after he was killed in a US special forces raid.

Pentagon sources told AFP on Monday that Baghdadi was similarly buried at sea, with no details given on where or when the body was disposed of.

"The disposal of his remains has been done, is complete and was handled appropriately," said General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The burial of bin Laden was widely criticised by Muslims and Islamic scholars who argued that burials at sea constitute a violation of Islamic law.

Muslims are traditionally ritually washed, wrapped in a white cloth and buried in the ground. US military personnel reportedly followed Islamic burial rituals before disposing of the al-Qaeda leader's body, but it is unclear whether they did the same for Baghdadi's corpse.

Read more: Has this man replaced Baghdadi as IS leader?

The burial was also criticised by some who argued the lack of visual confirmation of the extremist group chief's death before the hasty disposal of his body would add fuel to the fire of conspiracy theories that he had not indeed been killed.

US President Donald Trump confirmed Baghdadi's death in a press conference on Sunday, claiminng that the IS leader had died "like a dog" during a US special forces raid on Saturday.

The Iraqi extremist militant was killed after detonating a suicide vest he was wearing, the president said.

The raid took place at a compound in northwest Syria's Idlib province, the majority of which is controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a former al-Qaeda affiliate and fierce rival of IS.

Trump thanked a number of forces for their facilitation of the raid, including Russia, Iraq and the Syrian Kurdish forces. 

Iraq, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Turkey have all claimed to have provided the intelligence around Baghdadi's location. It is as yet unclear which force or country's intelligence was instrumental in the operation.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Miley added on Monday that two men were captured during the Saturday raid and were currently been held in a "secure facility".

Local sources had previously told The New Arab that rescuers had found the bodies of seven people at the site where Baghdadi died, as well as eleven wounded people.

Three of the dead were women while one was a young girl.

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